THE CAVE YOU FEAR TO ENTER HOLDS THE TREASURE YOU SEEK

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

I've seen this aphorism many times in the last few weeks, and so I would be remiss not to write about this Joseph Campbell quote in this month's DEEPER blog.

First, let's be clear about what this statement means: In order to discover the treasure - to transform into the most magnificent version of you -  you will have to walk into the cave you fear.  You will have to do the work you don’t want to do. No one else but you.

Here’s my personal interpretation of this: no one is coming to rescue you.  No one is going to make you write that business plan.  No one is going to tell you to stop smoking or to loose those 30 pounds.  No one will magically fix your relationship.  There is no hero in the story of your life but you.  I'm not saying that there aren't going to be characters that you'll meet along the way that can help, but what I’m saying is that it is ultimately YOU who will have to walk into that scary and dark cave alone.  

No one is coming to rescue you.  Only you can do the work.  

The good news is…YOU are the hero! And here’s a three-part plan to help you begin the hero's journey:

1) Start now - Stop thinking that there will be a perfect, magical moment to begin walking into that cave. Transformation is like a waking a sleeping lion - it will always be terrifying and you will never want to do it. But you can do it. Start now.  

2) Do the real work - (Creatives are notorious for this one!) Don't confuse posting this quote on Instagram or sharing it with your friends post-yoga class for going into the cave.  You might feel inspired by reading this post, but please don't conflate intellectual expression with action.  Action will lead to transformation, not thought.

3) Take a small step in - Don't be so concerned with getting to the treasure.  Instead focus on moving toward it, one valiant step at a time.  If you want to start your own business, take out a piece of paper and write down three things you can do in this hour to help you move forwards.  If you want to live healthier, lay out your gym clothes on top of your alarm clock the night before.  Take small steps in, and do this consistently and persistently.

Here's the thing - I can't promise that you'll get to your treasure at the end of this week, month, year, or even ten years.  But I can promise you this - as long as you’re committed to being in that cave, taking continuous steps in the direction of your greatest potential, it's the journey into the cave that will transform you more so than the treasure.

It really is the path, not the destination.  So take a deep breath and start your journey.  The cave you’ve been waiting to enter is waiting for you to go in.

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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THE 5/25 RULE

One of the most successful investors in the world, Warren Buffett, lives by the 5/25 rule.

What is the 5/25 rule?  Instead of me just describing the general principle, let’s apply it directly to YOU!  Ready? 

Write down the top 25 things that you want to accomplish in the near future.  Keep nothing off the table - learning a new language, starting a new business, playing a new musical instrumentThen, rank these items in order of importance and circle the top 5 that are most important to you.  Prioritizing your goals will be harder than listing them, but try your best.

Now look at your list. You probably agree that your top five will require a majority of your energy and focus - you placed these at the top because they most significant to you.  

So the question now is…what do you do with the remaining 20?

Because you probably find numbers 6-25 to be somewhat important, my guess is that you’d probably want to work on these 20 items intermittently while you chip away at accomplishing your top 5.

But Buffett suggests you do something different: Avoid the bottom 20 at all costs until the top 5 goals have fully manifested.

The logic behind this? There's a time limitation to what you can accomplish, meaning every one of your possible future outcomes includes a set of goals that you won’t be able achieve because there simply isn’t enough time to get everything done. So the million dollar question is this: which specific permutation of accomplishments do you commit to right now, the one that will make you the most happy and fulfilled? Buffett’s answer: the set where you manifest your top 5.

This belief of being supremely devoted to your top 5 is in alignment with Pareto's law, which states that 20% of your actions generate 80% of the benefit you receive in life.

So what are your top 5 goals? Do you have any hesitations about ignoring your bottom 20? Let me know in the comments below.

Working hard isn't enough to create the future you want.  You also have to be intentional and strategic with your actions given that time and energy is limited.  So see what happens - give the 5/25 rule a try and dive in.


DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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WHEN YOUR STRENGTH BECOMES A WEAKNESS

We all know what happens when we focus too much on the needs of others.  Staying too long at a family event or listening to a friend vent for multiple hours can leave us feeling completely zapped and not our best selves.

Interestingly enough, the same outcome happens when we focus too much on our own needs.  This narrow viewpoint often leads to low energy and depression when we don't land that extra client or book that important gig.

And while you might feel like nothing is wrong with being too "supportive" or "driven", it's the equal engagement of both skills that will prevent your strength from becoming a weakness.

For example, you might consider yourself an expert at being "supportive" and "adaptable" to the needs of others, but how "supportive" are you really if you only tend to the needs of family or coworkers, and never stand up for your own?  How is it a strength when you come home snappy or resentful for being too giving?

Additionally, you might take pride in self-identifying as a "go-getter", but how truly "driven" are you if you can't identify the needs of others and don't have solutions to any problems beyond your own?  Isn't it a weakness when your view of the world becomes more and more myopic as you become more and more burnt out?

This concept of being equally flexible to the needs of others, and strong in your own is one of the main tenants I'm excited to teach this October, as I launch my 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training, Yoga Masterminds.  We will learn how to be exemplary in flexibility (expansion of energy away from the self) and equally outstanding in strength (contraction of energy towards the self) in our poses on the mat, and more importantly in how we navigate through life off the mat.  

And this is the reason why 100% of proceeds from the sale of my new ambient music album "Iceland" this year will go towards providing clean water and school supplies for teachers and students at Calavera Elementary in Cebu, the Philippines.  This ambient music album can't simply end with creating benefit for those in my immediate world: it must somehow give life to others, beyond my world.  Equal giving and receiving has become the foundation of my personal brand, and its message is infused into every product or experience I create. 

Now back to YOU - we all naturally fall on one end of the spectrum or the other: Is your natural disposition to focus more on the needs of others or more on your own?  Is there a practice you engage in such as yoga that teaches you the importance of mastering both altruism and self care?  Drop me a line below and let me know.

Stay committed to the path of self discovery AND to discovering the paths of others.  By doing so, your strengths won't become weaknesses: instead your strengths will multiply.   The world, both within and beyond, can only grow when compassionate and strong people like you see the work ahead and are determined to dive in. 


DEEPER, 
Andrew Abaria
 

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P.S. Join me at these East Coast album release party/flow classes where all "Iceland" album sales will go towards helping students, like the kids featured above, reach their full potential:

9/7 Lancaster, PA - Lululemon Lancaster (sponsored by Lululemon)
9/13 Owensboro, KY - The Yoga Loft
9/21 New York City, NY - Equinox Sports Club (sponsored by Equinox)

UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

I led a personal development and yoga retreat in Iceland this past May and the experience was nothing short of life changing.  Our days were filled with both outward adventures in vast and beautiful nature, and inward moments of deep intrapersonal reflection.

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This experience helped me to more clearly see the boundless potential within me as well as the boundless potential within others. And so I felt compelled to compose a set of songs that could inspire anyone to tap into this same magical state of balanced inner and outer awareness. I wanted to compose something that could help people feel more connected, breathe deeper, and most importantly get into "flow".  

What is flow?  It's that powerful feeling when you're totally immersed in the intensity and wonder of whatever it is you're doing - midnight driving, studying for a test, walking through nature, practicing yoga.  It’s what happens when you’re equally aware of the divinity in both the inner and outer world. Flow is being present.

And so I created Iceland - the album. 

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My deepest hope is that "Iceland" inspires you to become more present - present to your own unlocked potential and present to how you can unlock the potential of others.  Why?  Because your ability to connect to the greatness within is only as powerful as your ability to activate the greatness in others.

And that’s why proceeds from all album sales this year will go directly towards purchasing clean drinking water and school supplies for students at Calavera Elementary in Naga, Cebu in the Philippines.  Talking about the theory of human potential is meaningless without the actual physical practice of it.

If you've read this far, my guess is that you are also fascinated by the unlocking of human potential.  If so, what activities are you engaging in to realize your own potential?  What are you doing to help realize the potential of others?  Drop a line below and let me know.

Iceland comes out on all digital retailers on September 5, 2018.

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

PS. The Iceland album world tour begins later this month!  Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay tuned in!

THEORY VS. PRACTICE

When you're trying to learn a new skill and find yourself frustrated with your progress, it may be because there's an imbalance of theory and practice.

What is theory, what is practice, and why is the balance of these two important?

Theory is intellectual - it's an intangible system of thoughts that explains how something works.  Theory is purely mind based.  Practice on the other hand has to do with the body. Practice is when you take action, using your body in some capacity, to bring a cerebral concept to life.

More often than not, when we're in learning mode and not progressing, it's because we're engaging in too much theory and not enough practice.

Why?  Because theory only exists in the mind.  And while you might feel like you’re accomplishing a lot by listening to theory, it’s all just intellectual gymnastics - you're not actually materializing anything into the world.  Tangible results only happen through action - when knowledge gets applied externally, in some physical way beyond the mind.  In other words, knowing something intellectually is very different than actually being able to do it.

Imagine if Will Power, the winner of this year's Indy 500, told you a top 10 list of things that helped him to win the race this year.  Yeah, you'd have insightful tips that would help someone become a world class auto racer, but simply acquiring that information doesn't do anything If anything, with this new knowledge you could potentially delude yourself into thinking that you're qualified to be an international racing champion!  

Now, if you were able to pair Will Power's lecture side by side with EXPERIENCE - applying his tips as while you were sitting in the driver's seat, wearing the suit, leaning in on every turn - only then would you begin the process of creating real improvement for yourself.

I know this all sounds obvious, but really ask yourself this...

"Am I spending most of my time consuming information, or am I also equally and simultaneously engaging in a strategic action plan that activates this new information?"  

You can improve.  You can transform.  You can transform the world.  But you've got to make sure theory is always accompanied side by side with intelligent practice.  So turn off the lecture, roll up your sleeves, and get your body moving.  Now's the time to dig in.

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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LET GO

What does the phrase "let go" mean to you?

When you’ve given it your all
and you’ve done everything that you can do,
in that moment of stillness
when you feel like you’ve got nothing left
you might think that it was all a waste
that you’ve lost your way.
But actually you’re where you need to be
right here, right now.
And the final step is to now let go.

Not because you’ve given up
or that you’re not strong enough.
Let go because there is something
more powerful than you
that can finally do the work once you’ve gotten out of the way.
This energy can accomplish more than you could ever imagine,
but it can only flow if you completely trust and let go.
— Andrew Abaria

Effective letting go is part of a process - a process that begins with structure, discipline, and hard work. Ask any accomplished ballerina en pointe or jazz guitarist - you can't accomplish great things by only “trusting in the universe” and “letting go”.  Years (and for most of us, decades) of strategic and focused action are required before we can actually "let go".  Otherwise, what are you letting go of - being underprepared and perhaps lazy??

Once you’ve done THE WORK, the choice to let go becomes a sacred act - of allowing something greater than you move YOU to the next stage of evolution.  You see this when an Olympic athlete takes a deep breath before a final round competition or when a mother sees her kid off to college.  You experience this in the sweet moments of savasana after a difficult asana class.  Because without the work, "letting go" and "trusting in the universe" become just weightless, anti-spiritual directives where you expect the universe to do great things for you when you haven't done your part in the symbiotic relationship.

What does letting go mean for you? Are there actions you need to take before you can successfully let go?  Drop me a line below and let me know. 

The development of the universe depends on critically thinking, aware, and solidly spiritual people like you to stay curious about the marvelous path we all are on.  The world needs YOU to truly dive in. 

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria


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SELF-CARE

Self-care is one of the biggest buzzwords these days.  While its history stems from a medical concept from the 1970's, that later morphed into a political act via the continuing civil and women's rights movements, self-care is now becoming an expected social practice for most hip Americans.

The Pew Research Center found that in 2015, millennials were willing to spend more on self-care than any other generation before them, and have spent 2x more on self-care strategies than baby boomers.

With so many young people engaging in this phenomena of self-care, and thus creating the norms for present and future standard ways of living, I think it's worth asking: What exactly is self-care?

The obvious answer would be “to take care of one's self”, but when I look at this snapshot of today's top #selfcare pics on Instagram, I'm left a little confused.  How does avocado toast, expensive make up, and essential oils equate to self-care?

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If self-care is truly about inviting more restoration and healing into our lives, then here are three strategies to make sure your self-care practice doesn’t become an ego-infused practice of pampering.

1. Self-care is something you mindfully plan, it's not reactive.  When you have a bad day at work and then reactively say you'll do self-care later that night by getting a pint of your favorite ice cream and binge watching Netflix - that's not self-care.   Instead, consider alternatives like sticking to your new year's workout resolution or going to your weekly therapy session as better ways of actually caring for yourself.

2. Self-care makes you check in, not check out.  When you #treatyoself to new make up or another pair of jeans, does it help you to check in or check out? Does it focus more of your attention to what's happening on the outside or inside?  When we focus more on the outside, we avoid checking in which actually perpetuates the cycle of unhealthiness that makes us desperate for real forms of self-care!

3. Self-care isn’t always additive.  Many effective forms of self-care are about reduction and saying no: like not answering emails before bed, not taking calls when you’re with family, or not saying those terrible things you silently say to yourself (that you would never say to anyone else!).  Most self-care enthusiasts on social media don't want to admit this, but reduction is often the most important form of self-care.  Again, what I'm saying isn't sexy or visually worthy enough for your typical #selfcare Instagram post - but it's the #selfcaretruth.

Here’s the bottom line: self-care (like really taking care of yourself) is difficult work!  That’s a huge reason why we avoid doing it and side step the issue by doing deceptively feel good versions of pampering and hedonism instead. 

I know there's a fine line between self-care and self-indulgence so I want to hear from you - What are your self-care strategies?  What's the difference between self-care and faux self-care?  

Let's keep the conversation going and dive in,

DEEPER
Andrew Abaria

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MANIFESTATION

I was running 10 minutes late to my next appointment when my car started to break down in the middle of the 5 freeway in Los Angeles. It was scary but I quickly pulled over and thankfully two people rushed by to help push the car along the offramp to the side of the road.

After assessing the situation, my new friends told me that my battery was dead and that I needed jumper cables.  (Thank goodness because I don't know anything about cars!). They had to leave so I was left alone with this very important mission:

I needed to manifest jumper cables.

Right away my mindset shifted: everything around me became somehow related to these jumper cables. Across the street I saw a father pushing a baby stroller and thought - he has a kid and they must live close by, they probably have a mini van, and so he must have jumper cables in their car!

I excitedly asked him if he did, and while he didn't, I didn’t seem to care: I was focused on the next opportunity.  I then saw a college student walking her dog - again my mind went through the same creative logic sequence  - she's in college, meaning she’s old enough to drive - so she must have a car - and there will be the jumper cables!  Turns out she didn't have them either, but again this didn't stop me.  She did mention though that there was a convenience store around the corner and as I ran around the block, I brought with me the same mindset - I kept making everyone and everything I experienced somehow related to these elusive jumper cables.  

And while the store owner didn’t have what I wanted, she did direct me to a gas station two blocks away and it was there where after another failed attempt, someone who overheard my conversation, came up to me and handed me the jumper cables I needed to jump start my car.

In just over an hour, I manifested jumper cables.

Now you might think - wait a minute... Isn’t manifesting that woo woo thing where you chant OM 108 times in front of your Ganesha statue, light some incense, and then whatever you’ve been meditating on somehow magically appears on the night of the next full moon?

Here's the thing: I believe MANIFESTATION isn't some airy-fairy concept but that it happens through a confluence of these three factors:

1) crystal clear clarity as to what you want
2) focused actions that strategically move you towards your goal
3) relentless determination until you finally succeed

My experience on the 5 fwy taught me that when you want something bad enough and choose to perceive all external phenomena as a way to move closer to your goal, you create boundless opportunities to succeed.  The strangers through my adventure weren’t holding up signs saying “I have jumper cables” but I chose to see it that way.  And because of my incessant optimism and workist attitude, these people became allies in helping me to get to my goal.

Again, I call this process MANIFESTATION. (BTW I’m also not saying that  manifestation is an easy path to take or that results appear within minutes. But what I am saying is that the combination of clear intention, meaningful action, and unassailable determination will eventually get you to your desired end point.)

So now let's focus on YOUwhat is it that you deeply want?  If you can back up your desire with sheer will and strategic action, I promise that opportunities will become available to you that may not have noticed before. The universe is conspiring to help you, but in order to unlock the magic you’ve got to help yourself first.

So stop the mindless mantra and give manifestation a real try - follow the steps above and dive in.

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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INITIATE

This two minute parable powerfully shows us the path to success:

“ A certain farmer had become old and ready to pass his farm down to one of his two sons.  When he brought his sons together to speak about it, he told them: The farm will go to the younger son. 

The older son was furious! “What are you talking about?” he fumed.

Okay,” the father said, “I need you to do something for me.  We need more stocks.  Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?”

The older son left and shortly returned reporting, “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale.”

The father graciously thanked the older son for his work.  He then turned to the younger son and said “I need you to do something for me.  We need more stocks.  Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?

The younger son did as he was asked and a short while later returned and reported “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale.  Each cow will cost 2,000 rupees.  If we are thinking about buying more than 6 cows, Cibi will reduce the price per cow by 100 rupees.  Cibi also said they are getting special jersey cows next week and so if we aren’t in a hurry, it may be a good idea to wait.  However if we need the cows urgently, Cibi said he could deliver the cows tomorrow.”

The father then turned to the older son and said, That’s why your younger brother is getting the farm.”

Successful people don’t just do the minimum required.  They don’t just execute specific instructions and wait for the next external request. They critically think about the situation as a whole and put in extra effort to help move the situation towards a certain benefit or result. 

In other words, as Benjamin P. Hardy puts it, successful people initiate

As successful people initiate, they end up influencing the direction of how ideas and projects develop.  They are active and not passive, becoming drivers on the road of life, not just backseat riders.  And because they initiate, just like the younger son in the story above, they are given opportunities.  Success finds them.

So why don’t we initiate?  Because it’s scary!  When we initiate, we put ourselves out there - revealing unsolicited thoughts and feelings, our creativity, and personal ideas as to what we would add to the situation.

So how can we get over this fear and become better initiators?  

Luckily this ability to initiate can be trained and developed.  I’ve found that simply being around driven and like-minded people is a great first step in learning this skill.  Here are just a few of the upcoming social events I’ll be leading in the next few months that can help you learn how to initiate.

Manifestation Retreat: Adventure in Iceland, May 11-15 (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Hustle Fest: A day long summit for people transitioning from a full-time job to full-time freelance, April 14 (New York, NY)

Worth 100: Lululemon’s International Women’s Day Yoga Event, March 8 (Lancaster, PA)

And if you’re asking about other opportunities closer to where you are, here’s my suggestion.  Initiate.  Ask friends, do a google search, post a question on Facebook, message me.  The sky’s the limit.

You can do it.  Initiate and dive in.

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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BECOMING YOUR BEST SELF

This past month was filled with many adventures in Asia.  I was invited to teach another international workshop, this time in Hong Kong at the Yoga Room.  In addition, I took a few days off to see Bali, Indonesia.

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And while these professional and personal experiences were fun and exciting, what gave me the most satisfaction out of this Asia trip was being a part of a medical mission in the Philippines.

On January 28 and 29 I volunteered at a medical mission trip in Cauayan, Negros Occidental where we provided free medical supplies, dental exams, and minor surgeries to low income families in the area. 

 

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In addition to donating time, I decided last December to host two music performances where all ticket and CD sales would go towards further fundraising for humanitarian efforts in Cauayan.  Thanks to you all, we raised almost $600 which we used to buy school supplies for over 600 students in local neighborhoods.

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Seeing the smiles on these kids' faces was nothing short of life changing. And so I quickly realized this while in Asia: you don’t become your best self when you’ve added a line to your resume or are lounging by the pool at an island resort.  You become your best self when you help others to become their best.

If you've read this far, I hope this message inspires you in your own way to continue this very important work.  Because it's only when we direct our lives towards deeply connecting with others, and truly being of service, that we ultimately become our best too.

Keep on diving in,

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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OUTCOME VS. ACTIVITY

Happy 2018!!

Are you excited about your NYR (New Year's resolution)??

NYRs undoubtedly give us an added boost of energy and drive, and so right away we tend to immerse ourselves in tons of forward moving activity.  We do our best to keep busy, doing everything we can to check off boxes on our to-do list - often it feels amazing!

But has this ever happened to you, where you've engaged in tons of activity and even experienced benefits....but ultimately didn't see the results you expected?

So why does this happen?  Well, here's my take:  Activity alone is not enough.  When you complete any activity, all that ensures is that you will receive some sort of addition to your life, some sort of benefit. But the thing is, benefit is not the same as progress.

Progress is movement to towards a very specific outcome, and so random and unfocused benefit will not necessarily get you to your ideal end goal.

What's the alternative - how do we create progress?  Start with outcome.  

Start with outcome by creating a clear picture of what your ideal end scenario looks like: the exact net profit your business will generate, the number of vacation days you want this year, etc. – and then come up with a pertinent activity list that will get you to that end goal.

Here's an example:  If your NYR is "to be healthier in 2018", you might start to make a list of activities that would look something like this:
- lower my cholesterol
- get one more hour of sleep a night
- 10 minutes a day to meditate

But let's say the outcome you actually want is to lose two inches off your waist - even if you lowered your cholesterol by 40 points, got an extra hour of sleep a night, and disciplined yourself to meditate 10 minutes every morning it doesn't guarantee that you will be able to fit into that dream pair of jeans! You did lots of well-intended activity - and got tons of healthy benefit - but didn't arrive at your end ideal outcome.

Instead, make your NYE a specific outcome - "to lose two inches off my waist".  From there, you'd be more likely generate an activity list like this:
- do an hour yoga class 3x a week
- eat a 300 calorie lunch Mon-Fri
- no dessert on weekends

The bottom line is this: focus on your ideal outcome FIRST, then come up with corresponding activities that will get you there.  Don't just focus on activity, because only outcome-based activities will help you to accomplish your goals.

So, start with outcome!

Does this make sense?  Write a comment below and let me know.  I love talking about this stuff, and I've even created two coaching programs, focused on end outcomes of course, to help people like you arrive at their ideal end goals.

Yoga Masterminds: The Business of Yoga 101: How to create a five figure income as a yoga teacher (and only work 5 hours a week)

Yoga Masterminds: Adventure in Iceland (manifest your dream yoga pose)

Happy New Year and good luck with your NYRs.  Have fun diving in,

DEEPER,
Andrew Abaria

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